All You Need To Know Why Emotional Support Dogs Are Incredible

No matter a person’s ailment, conditions and circumstances can always be improved with a loyal dog by one’s side. A type of animal that has been gaining attention in the pet and mental health community is an emotional support dog.

Many people with mental and emotional impairments have benefitted from enlisting the support and presence of an emotional support dog. And I am no different with my personal story.

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It All Started With A Furry Friend Named Buzz…

I’m a recovering addict but can say I have been proudly sober for five years now thanks to the clumsy but solid presence of my bulldog, Buzz. He’s the reason why I’m less susceptible to relapses. He lets me stay calm in the face of triggers, and keeps me from succumbing to depressive episodes.

I say this to everyone: don’t let that adorable face fool you; it has the ability to genuinely lift you up from dark places and keep you functioning in day-to-day life. But before we get into why emotional support dogs are incredible, you need to know that they are their own category of animal.

Did You Know That Service Dogs Are Not The Same As Emotional Support Dogs?

service dogs are not the same as emotional support dogs

Contrary to popular assumption, an emotional support dog is completely different from a service dog. While they both are fantastic companions to make their owner’s life easier, both serve specific purposes:

A service animal is trained to perform physical tasks for their owner, such as guide them through a busy sidewalk if they’re visually impaired, retrieve medication in high places if the owner is in a wheelchair, or even opening the door in order to welcome guests into the home. A service dog also provides psychological assurance to their owner in the face of their condition.

While both animals contribute the same emotional and psychological benefit to their owner, the purpose of an emotional support animal is to simply supply love, companionship and therapeutic benefit to a person with a mental ailment or condition such as PTSD, addiction, depression or anxiety.

Also, both have separate legal rights and limitations. A service dog is protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which grants them access to all areas of public accommodation.

Emotional support dogs can only accompany their owners and flights and qualify as the exception to a landlord’s “no pet” housing rule. They can be denied entrance into public areas and business, unlike their service dog counterpart.

Despite the differences, both a service dog and emotional support animal require medical approval and registration in order to carry out their duties and purpose. Each should also be equipped with a vest to illustrate their authority and credibility.

Now, Let’s Get To The Reasons Why Emotional Support Dogs Are Incredible!

If you were considering getting an emotional support dog, you may be completely convinced to own by the end of this article. They are an infinite number of reasons as to why they’re incredible. So we’ve gathered the best ones for you to learn about below:

Their Purpose Is To Alleviate The Symptoms Of Mental Conditions And Illnesses

As mentioned before, an emotional support dog does exactly what their title says: they support you during emotional circumstances! But they specifically have the ability to reduce the likelihood of their owner suffering a psychological or mental breakdown. For example, if the owner was prone to anxiety, the emotional support dog senses the upcoming event and acts to prevent it.

In my personal experience, Buzz, helped me enter a recovery state from my subsequent depression that was a result of my addiction. Depression crippled my self-worth for years, making me suffer waves of suicidal thoughts and painstaking sadness. But Buzz was there by my side, nuzzling into my hand, whenever I had truly awful days.

I always felt that if I was gone, no one would take care of Buzz. I found purpose in getting through my depression so that I could give back love to this gentle creature who gave so much to me.

They Reduce Stress And Anxiety

emotional support dog reduce stress and anxiety

Dogs are naturally relaxing creatures to be around, and it’s always a treat to interact with them. The reason why emotional support dogs are especially endearing is that they relax you, which diminishes the body’s production of cortisol and adrenaline.

Not to mention, touching and petting a dog increases the levels of oxytocin in the brain, the “love hormone”. This chemical reaction acts as a natural painkiller, creates a genuine attachment, and puts you in a better and more positive mood. 

Remind You To Be Responsible

Human beings and animals need to take care of themselves or be taken care of to live their best, fulfilling life. Being the owner of an emotional support dog, you are reminded of this truth every day.

As I mentioned before, I endured depression in conjunction with my addiction that prevented me from properly functioning. But a part of my daily routine included feeding Buzz and taking him out for walks in the park. As a result, my daily habits improved and I can properly care for myself and my pet.

Emotional support dogs give you a reason to get out of bed every morning and find a way to fight through your mental condition. You determine the quality of your life, as well as the one of your animal

Improve The Quality Of Your Health (And Those Around You!)

Dogs are scientifically proven to lower your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and problems, such as heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. They also lower blood pressure which also combats potential hypertension.

Furthermore, the presence of an emotional support dog in your family can also positively affect children. If a child is exposed to a dog at a young age, they tend to pick up microbes from the dog’s fur. This may seem like a negative aspect, but it actually strengthens their respiratory system and prevents them from developing allergies and asthma. 

They Give You Unconditional Love

Loneliness or distrust are feelings you never experience when existing side-by-side with an emotional support dog. They never expect anything of you, understand how you truly feel and make you realize that it would be pointless to put up a facade in front of them. Their companionship is irreplaceable and incomparable to anything else in this world, and just by their nature does the day become a little bit brighter.

Besides Being Your Emotional Support Dog, They Become A Lifelong Best Friend

This may sound cheesy, but an emotional support dog really becomes a best friend to you. Before you even realize it, they will be a family member. You learn to appreciate life even more because of them, too.

They can even lead to new friends in the form of other people or dogs who you meet on walks and adventures. It’s inevitable that a fellow dog-lover walking their pet will stop and ask you about your furry friend. The scenario is a win-win for everyone! 

In Conclusion

Many others like me have made meaningful progress in overcoming their conditions with the help of an emotional support dog. If you are in a place where an emotional support dog is an option, go ahead and embrace their comforting love without hesitation. Not only will you never regret the decision to do so, you can expect to speed up the journey on the road to recovery.

McDonald Trevor
 

Trevor McDonald is a freelance content writer and self-proclaimed "Dog Dad". He's written a variety of education, travel, health, and lifestyle articles for many different companies and is currently writing for Sober Nation. In his free time, you can find him running with his dog, Buzz, playing his guitar or outside enjoying any type of fitness activity imaginable.

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